Hippasus of Metapontum was a Greek philosopher. He was a disciple of Pythagoras. To Hippasus is attributed the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers. More specifically, he is credited with the discovery that the square root of 2 is irrational.

Up until Hippasus’ discovery, the Pythagoreans preached that all numbers could be expressed as the ratio of integers. Despite the validity of his discovery, the Pythagoreans initially treated it as a kind of religious heresy and they either exiled or murdered Hippasus. Legend has it that the discovery was made at sea and that Hippasus’ fellow Pythagoreans threw him overboard.

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